Flat Earth Dream Soliloquy

I like the innocent parts of Flat Earth, the bits about reinventing knowledge, but I hate the part that’s borders and brutalism. I get the desire for an edge because I also love the feminine tilt and the endless dip of the heliocentric, but Flat Earth feels like a gender homesick for an atlas of endless shale beneath us. With two eyes and Photoshop you can swarm science with swagger. A flat earth makes water endless, and any talk of hardship is theater, and it will never let us down, and drinking urine can save your life, and other ones I can’t remember. The Earth is flat because that suits capitalism; I haven’t figured out how. When I’m at Target and, say, I’m in the soup aisle, I try to guesstimate the calories. I calculate there are a thousand different cans of soup that on average are about 300 calories a can, so that’s 300,000 calories, which is about I would say 85 or so pounds meant for someone’s body, and that’s just one solitary aisle and not a very caloric one. So many calories, so who are they meant for? Perhaps calories fall off the edges of Earth. When I was a girl I believed every product the factory made was good for me, so I accept you, Flat Earth. Each age needs its revisions and its mass hysterias. In 1726 Mary Toft convinced people she had given birth to rabbits, an improbable scenario a lot of people believed. Also, crop circles. If we’re revising, I ’d like to make some propositions: along the edge, sirens sang their hypnosis onto the rocky cays. You see water is endless, because the edge is an infinite pool. On my Flat Earth, I walk on the surface of the ocean wielding a CGI trident and spouting the truth that feels best. What is seeing, I ask? A poet once told me I liked a theory of world I could aver with confidence. I’ll live at the edge of the Earth where those next-world sirens write a form of poem called the sapphic made of drinking straws and seashell songs, despair, births, and conspiracy. We were having a crisis of state, so along the edges we are building a new curve for the Earth into the galaxy, a renewal of her fertile potential. 


Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of seven books, including Cruel Futures (City Lights Publishers, 2018) and Milk and Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013), the latter a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry; earlier collections earned an American Book Award and a Juniper Prize. She is also a publisher of Noemi Press, a codirector for CantoMundo, a professor of English at Virginia Tech, and a poetry editor at The Nation. Graywolf will publish her Be Recorder in 2019.